Rwanda to ease COVID-19 lockdown next week

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Rwanda will effective May 4 start taking cautious steps to ease the national COVID-19 lockdown, allowing private and public businesses to resume work with essential staff.

A statement issued late Thursday by the Prime Minister’s office following a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame, said markets, as well as manufacturing and construction sectors will open with essential workers while hotels and restaurants will open and close by 7pm.

The government announced initial two-week lockdown on March 21, which was extended until April 19, before it was extended again until April 30.

Kagame commended Rwandans for abiding with the health measures but noted that the fight is yet to be over, the statement said.

He also called on Rwandans to remain vigilant in observing health guidelines.

Meetings in public spaces and mass gatherings will remain prohibited and a curfew from 8pm to 5am will be imposed, the statement said.

The measures will be reviewed after 15 days upon health assessment.

While individual sporting activity in open places will be permitted, sporting facilities shall remain closed.

Public and private transport will resume within the same province, whereby bus operators will ensure passengers maintain social distancing.

 “Borders will remain closed except for cargo and returning Rwandans and legal citizens who will be subject to mandatory 14 days quarantine. Schools will remain closed until September 2020,” it said.

Places of worship, recreation centers as well as all bars will remain closed, while public and private transport between different provinces and city of Kigali is also prohibited.

Meanwhile taxi-motos will not be allowed to transport passengers.

The Ministry of Health on Thursday reported 18 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 243.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus across Africa climbed to 37,393 on Thursday as the death toll reached 1,598, according to figures by the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The confirmed COVID-19 positive cases on the continent rose from 34,915 reported on Wednesday.

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, warned Thursday that lifting of coronavirus restrictions on the continent should not be rushed in order to avoid a second wave of infections.

Globally, coronavirus death toll exceeded the 230,000 mark Thursday while the number of cases reached 3,247,648, according to data by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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